The tone of “The Melancholy Hussar of the German Legion” is wistful, nostalgic, and loving. Though the narrator did not experience the events of the story himself, he tells the story in such a way that it feels as if he were there. In this way, the narrator seems to be honoring Phyllis by channeling her thoughts and feelings as realistically as possible (based on the story she told him decades earlier when he was a teenager and she was near the end of her life).
The following passage—an aside from the narrator near the beginning of the story—captures the narrator’s simultaneously nostalgic and empathetic tone:
Is it necessary to add that the echoes of many characteristic tales, dating from that picturesque time, still linger about here in more or less fragmentary form, to be caught by the attentive ear? Some of them I have repeated; most of them I have forgotten; one I have never repeated, and assuredly can never forget.
In this passage, the narrator explains to readers why he is taking the time to tell this story 90 years after the fact, framing it as one of the many “echoes” of “that picturesque time” that he has caught with his “attentive ear.” The language here (specifically “echoes” and “picturesque time”) communicates the narrator’s nostalgic tone. The repetitive quality of the second sentence also adds a wistful element to this passage, while the implication that this is the one story the narrator has “never repeated, and assuredly can never forget” hints that Phyllis's story is something special, adding a loving and empathetic tone to his words as well.